Mind, body connection important for heart health, AHA says

Physicians should consider the mental health of patients with or at risk of heart disease, according to a scientific statement published in the American Heart Association's Circulation journal Jan. 25. 

The statement attributes the connection to a growing body of research indicating psychological health can have a positive or negative effect on heart health. Studies have shown that people with depression, for example, have an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, while people who say they have a greater sense of purpose in life have a reduced risk for heart conditions, according to an AHA news release. 

"As doctors and healthcare providers, we need to not only treat the disease state, we need to treat the patient and person as a whole," said Glenn Levine, MD, chair of the statement's writing committee and professor of medicine at Houston-based Baylor College of Medicine. 

Psychological health screening tools should be used during routine visits to assess patients with or at risk of heart disease, according to the statement. 

To read the full statement, click here. 

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